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Written Statement - Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy – outcome of Fisheries Council 13-14 May 2013

Alun Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food

In my Statement on 14 June 2012, I informed members that the EU Fisheries Council of Ministers had reached a common approach on the key proposals of a reformed Common Fisheries Policy.  Much further thinking and negotiation has gone on since then, across all the EU Institutions, and in the different fishing communities in all parts of Europe.

In the small hours of this morning, the EU Fisheries Council reached another important agreement that provides the impetus and mandate for negotiations to conclude with the European Parliament in the next few months.  This will signal an approach to end the wasteful practices of discarding marketable sized fish dead into the sea, makes provision for fisheries management to be undertaken regionally but based on management plans that ensure that stocks are there for future generations.   It also achieves better protection for our marine environment.

I attended the earlier part of the negotiation in Brussels and represented the Welsh Government and Welsh fishing interests.  This was the latest element in the work that my officials and I have been doing over the past two years of the CFP Reform process: working closely with UK Government Ministers and officials to ensure that the specific needs and circumstances of fisheries in Wales are taken into account, in particular the needs of our predominantly small scale coastal fleet.  

Final negotiations are expected to take place in the coming weeks and I will continue to play an active part.  We will also play an active part in the expected discussions with UK Government and the other Devolved Administrations on the implementation of the new CFP

My ambition has always been a more sustainable and profitable fishing industry in Wales.  The likely shape of the new CFP has many elements that should set us on that track.  We will take that forward as part of our revised Wales Fisheries Strategy, and in the context of a more integrated approach to the management of fisheries and other marine matters.  I expect to make a further statement on that in June.

I need to explain that negotiations on the new European and Maritime Fisheries Fund still have a long way to go.  It has not formed part of this deal.  I hope that agreement can be reached on this new fund later in the year which we plan to use in Wales clearly for the delivery of our strategic objectives to ensure that fishing businesses and communities in Wales have the best chance to succeed.

Once again, I also want to record my thanks to Welsh Government Officials, and to the UK Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon, for his stewardship of the UK delegation through long and complex negotiations.